The Independent Electoral Commission (CEI) of the DRC and IFES-DRC relaunched their long-standing partnership during a vibrant BRIDGE course offered in Kinshasa from February 22-24.
Present in the DRC since 1998, IFES has worked closely to ensure the participation of civic groups in the major decisions facing the country during and after the conflict. When the decision to create the CEI was made in 2003 as part of the transitional peace agreement, IFES and the CEI began a strong relationship which has last well beyond the transitional elections and into the next round of local and national elections due in 2011.
With the financial assistance of USAID and the logistical support of the electoral division of the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo (MONUC), the CEI and IFES delivered a rousing BRIDGE session around the question of civic education in the DRC. The training brought together 25 members of the provincial and Kinshasa CEI offices who are responsible for designing and managing civic and electoral education activities around the country. Covering topics ranging from conception and consultation in civic education design to logistical implementation issues, the training was a welcome introductory activity for IFES’ new Voter Opinion and Involvement through Civic Education (VOICE) program. The program was also meaningful for the CEI, which serves as a regional centre for the ACE network and is strongly involved in bringing BRIDGE to francophone electoral commissions in the region. This training marks the first BRIDGE training led by the CEI, including its fully-accredited facilitator, Corneille Nangaa, and semi-accredited facilitators Flavien Misoni, Director of the CEI Operations Office; Crispin Kayembe and Roger Bupiri. The training was supported by IFES-DC’s BRIDGE coordinator, facilitator Gabrielle Bardall.
The program was also a first for IFES, as it is the first French language BRIDGE offered by IFES worldwide.